Avalanche out for revenge when Kraken visit
Posted on: 09 Nov, 2023 at 04:31 AM
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The last time the Seattle Kraken were in Denver, they skated off the ice after winning Game 7 to upset the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs last season.
It was a significant achievement for a team in its second year of existence, but Seattle has sputtered to start the 2023-24 campaign and has dropped its past two games. The Kraken will try to stop their slide when they visit Colorado on Thursday night.
Seattle lost its first four games of the season, including a home game against Colorado, and is 2-3 in games decided after regulation. The Kraken are coming off a shootout loss in Arizona on Tuesday night.
"It's a tight league," Seattle defenseman Justin Schultz said after the 4-3 loss to the Coyotes. "Every game is a battle. I think we are doing a lot of good things, especially in overtime, this year. It's just not going in right now for us. It (stinks) not getting the two points, but learn from it."
Seattle has been without two key forwards for an extended period of time. Brandon Tanev suffered a lower-body injury in the season opener against Vegas and is expected to be out at least one more week, while Andre Burakovsky, who helped the Avalanche win the 2022 Stanley Cup, is out with an upper-body injury.
Burakovsky was hurt on Oct. 21 against the New York Rangers and is projected to miss up to two months. Not having a full lineup against a speedy Colorado team will make things tougher for the Kraken, but they did win the playoff series against Colorado with Burakovsky sidelined.
The Avalanche have played well at home, winning all four games in Denver, including a 6-3 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday night. That offensive outburst was welcome after Colorado was shut out in three of its previous four games.
The issue wasn't the number of shots on net, but instead the overall game.
"We've been talking a lot about what we need to do to have success, and at times we're inconsistent with how much commitment we're putting on our checking game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "It's just hard work and commitment to check the right way. I believe it leads to a lot of offense. I think our guys believe in that, too.
"Early in the year, there's a little learning curve on remembering how hard the league is and how committed you have to be."
Colorado is getting production from its top players -- Mikko Rantanen had two goals and one assist, Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist and Cale Makar had three assists against the Devils -- and others are chipping in, too.
Ryan Johansen had the tiebreaking goal in the third period, Miles Wood scored short-handed against his former team and Ross Colton had the other goal before receiving a game misconduct for his crosscheck on Timo Meier in the second period.
The crosscheck came right after he was penalized for boarding, and New Jersey went on a seven-minute power play.
Colton avoided a suspension from the league, but he was fined $5,000 for the play.
--Field Level Media